The United Kingdom has donated at least 27 vehicles and a fully-equipped mechanical workshop to help improve the logistical capabilities of the Somali National Army (SNA) in fighting the Islamist Al Shabaab insurgency.
The equipment, which was handed over to the SNA in Mogadishu on 6 September, includes at least 17 Kamaz troop carriers and tractor trucks as well as ten Toyota Land Cruiser light patrol vehicles.
A small team of British experts has already been deployed in Mogadishu to provide equipment support such as training the SNA on how to operate and services the vehicles.
Somali defence minister Hassan Ali Mohammed received the equipment and pledged to ensure that the vehicles will be deployed to intensify operations against Al Shabaab.
“We would like to thank the British government for this equipment which is a force enabler. With this, we can now improve our operations and intensify the fight to kick Al Shabaab out of the areas they still control,” Mohammed said.
The British Army has consistently supported the SNA providing both training and equipment to help fight terrorism. The British aid came weeks after the SNA received 24 vehicles from Turkey.
The donation included 12 Kirpi armoured personnel carriers and 12 Mitsubishi Triton pickups for the 3rd (Eagle) Infantry Battalion, an elite SNA counter-terrorism unit that is trained and equipped by the Turkish Army.
In terms of a bilateral financial and military co-operation agreement between the two countries, Turkey has one of its biggest foreign military bases in Mogadishu.